January 2001   January 2000  January 1999  January 1998  
 February 2001   February 2000  February 1999  February 1998  
 March 2001   March 2000  March 1999  March 1998  
 April 2001   April 2000  April 1999  April 1998  
 May 2001   May 2000  May 1999  May 1998  
 June 2001   June 2000  June 1999  June 1998  
 July 2001  July 2000  July 1999  July 1998  July 1997
   August 2000  August 1999  August 1998  August 1997
    September 2000  September 1999  September 1998  September 1997
    October 2000  October 1999  October 1998  October 1997
   November 2000  November 1999  November 1998  November 1997
    December 2000  December 1999  December 1998  December 1997

Louis Glass

Symphonies Nos. 3 & 6

LOUIS GLASS (1864-1936): Symphony No. 3 in D, Op. 30 "Wood Symphony", Symphony No. 6, Op. 60 "Birth of the Scyldings". Dating from 1901, the Third is Glass' Forest Symphony. In four movements, beginning with a Brucknerian horn motive at the introduction to the first movement, this piece is soaked in Romantic forest genre scenes - the hunt, the storm, the night traveller haunted by spectres, the sylvan afternoon reverie - they're all there in music consistently striking in its melodies and use of leitmotives. The Sixth (1924) takes as its motto the opening two lines of an 1824 Danish poem which tells of the birth of the original Danes (like Beowulf, offspring of Scyld). In five movements, this work evokes a distant, epic past in music now brooding, now martial and imposing, now melancholy and now threatening (although its scherzo suggests that Glass was not ignorant of his Stravinsky). Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra; Nayden Todorov. Danacord DACOCD 542 (Denmark) 01C001 $16.98

FIBICH AND NOVAK - World Premiere Recordings!

ZDENEK FIBICH (1850-1900): Impressions from the Countryside, Op. 54, Othello, Op. 6, Toman and the Wood-Nymph, Op. 49. A couple more of Fibich's unrecorded works appear: Othello was his first tone poem, dating from 1873, and, though the young composer's main influences were still Schumann, Weber and Wagner, there is an unmistakeable hint of mature Dvorák (anachronistically enough) in this piece. The suite of Impressions is a late work - in fact, Fibich's last completed orchestral piece, coming right after the third symphony in 1898 - in which a much more evidently Czech, national style comes through in its evocation of the Bohemian people and countryside. Carlsbad Symphony Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 255 (Denmark) 01C002 $15.98

VITEZSLAV NOVÁK (1870-1949): South Bohemian Motives for Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 77, Melan-choly Songs of Love for Soprano and Orchestra, Op. 38, In the Tatras, Op. 26, Eternal Longing, Op. 33. Novak's 1906 song-cycle (op. 38) set texts by three famous Czech poets (Neruda, Vrhlicky and Berecky) and combines a fin-de-siècle melancholy with the passion and suffering of unrequited love. It's original, piano, version was issued last year on Supraphon. The South Bohemian Motives are among the last couple of Novák's compositions. Dating from 1947 and setting texts by his wife Maria, they represent the nostalgic thoughts of an old composer back in his homeland of South Bohemia, remembering his youth, contemplating the beauty of nature and remembering the Hussite tradition, whose martial motives stood out in Novák's war-time works of patriotic resistance. Carlsbad Symphony Orchestra; Douglas Bostock. Classico CLASSCD 256 (Denmark) 01C003 $15.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): Vanda, Op. 25. Premiered in 1876, this historical opera tells the tale of the eponymous character, a Polish princess who commits suicide by drowning in the Vistula after having sworn to give her life if the German invaders of her country were defeated. Performed in its original, five-act version (a conjuration scene proved too difficult to stage), the libretto offers the composer ample opportunity to fit out a coronation ceremony, a collective prayer and hymn, folkloristic genre pieces with singing and dancing, battle scenes and the afore-mentioned black magical conjuration in the richly colorful orchestration which one knows from the first five symphonies which Dvorák had written by this time. 3 CDs. Czech libretto. Olga Romanko (soprano), Peter Straka (tenor), Ivan Kusnjer (baritone), Prague Chamber Choir, Cologne Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Gerd Albrecht. Orfeo C 149 003 F (Germany) 01C004 $56.98

ROBERT FUCHS (1847-1927): Complete String Quartets, Vol. 1 - in E, Op. 58, in A Minor, Op. 62. Although Fuchs became famous for his bright, light and tuneful orchestral serenades, his later music became more still, inward and, sometimes, brooding. Thus, the first quartet (1895) has a melancholic, nostalgic feel in its first three movements, recovering the joy and spring of youth only in its finale. However, the second, from 1899, is full of the spontaneous warmth and generosity which one expects from this most gemütlich of composers. Minguet Quartet. MD&G 603 1001 (Germany) 01C005 $17.98

SERGEI TANEYEV (1856-1915): String Trios in E Flat, Op. 31, B Minor & D Major. Taneyev, among many other accomplishments, literally "wrote the book" on counterpoint and his favorite genre was that of a small chamber ensemble where his polyphonically oriented muse could balance voices and timbres of instruments similar to human voices. His first and last chamber works were string trios (the D Major from 1880 and the unfinished B Minor of 1913). These works are melodic and charming while being academically rigorous in an almost Mozartian way. Belcanto Strings. MD&G 634 1003 (Germany) 01C006 $17.98

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Sur les bords du Nil, Op. 125, Le rouet d'Omphale, Op. 31, Phaéton, Op. 39, König Harald Harfagar - ballad, Op. 59, Minuet & Gavotte, Op. 65, Duettino, Op. 11, Caprice Arabe, Op. 96, Berceuse, Op. 05, Variations on a Theme of Beethoven, Op. 35. A new volume of duo piano music on one of the rarest of instruments - a 1904 Pleyel Double Grand (only 50 were made) - brings a selection of mostly world premieres. The two symphonic poems were originally two-piano works and the op. 59 ballad is another Lisztian such work, only never orchestrated. Duo Egri & Pertis (Pleyel Double Grand Piano). Hungaroton HCD 31928 (Hungary) 01C007 $16.98

JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Complete Youth Production for Piano, Vol. 1 - Yearning (The Mystery of the Sighs) for Recitation and Piano, Au crépuscule in F Sharp Minor, Scherzo in E, Aubade in A Flat, Andante in E Flat, Scherzo in E, 3 Pieces, 50 Short Pieces, 5 Short Pieces, 3 Short Pieces. Even more never-recorded Sibelius juvenilia - well, maybe not exactly juvenile, since the earliest piece dates from 1885 (the composer destroyed almost everything before this date) - for die-hard collectors of the composer. (This is Volume 48 in BIS' "Complete Sibelius"). Swedish-English texts. Folke Gräsbeck (piano). BIS CD-1067 (Sweden) 01C008 $17.98

RUED LANGGAARD (1893-1952): String Quartet in A Flat, Lenaustemninger for Mezzo-Soprano and String Quartet, Septet for Flute, Oboe, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns and Bassoon, Humoresque for Flute, Oboe, Cor Anglais, Clarinet, Horn and Snare Drum, I Blomstringstiden for Mezzo-Soprano and String Quartet. All of these works are from Langgaard's youth, dating from 1915 to 1923. The "Lenau Moods" are melancholy and resigned, with the voice underscoring the elegiac mood; the septet is light and diverting while the 1918 quartet is a surprise: a stylistic pastiche of Viennese Classicism! The Humoresque (originally titled Symphony!) is a one-movement work in two parts - a weird first part which ends with a bizarre fugue and a lulling idyll. Langgaard lives up to his reputation with this varied, odd and always interesting collection! Annette L. Simonesen (mezzo), Randers Chamber Orchestra. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224139 (Denmark) 01C009 $14.98

HEITOR VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959): Symphony No. 4 "Victory", Symphony No. 12. One of a trilogy of "War Symphonies", the Fourth (1919) sandwiched between the Third "War" and the Fifth "Peace". The first of four movements opens with pounding, raucous rhythms (including anvils being struck) before giving way to a second movement which quotes the Marsellaise in music of generally light, jubilant character; a third movement Andantino is a muted funeral march and the finale - twice the size of any other movement - works itself up into a massive triumphant peroration. The only symphony by V-L to have been recorded prior to last year (in mono sound in 1955), this new (apparently live) recording has a ferocious impact. The Twelfth (1957) was premiered in Washington D.C. and, although on a somewhat smaller scale, still employs the composer's trademark polytonal, highly rhythmic and variegated orchestral color devices in a work of "pure music" which will still appeal to any Villa-Lobos collector. Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra; Carl St. Clair. CPO 999 525 (Germany) 01C010 $15.98

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975): The Big Lightning, Symphony No. 10 in E Minor, Op. 93. The Big Lightning was a 1932 operetta which was never completed. Gennady Rozhdestvensky discovered nine fully-scored numbers from the piece in 1980 and here they are: an overture, several arias and a duet from a plot which involved a Soviet delegation going to a capitalist country and having to overcome the evil machinations of the Westerners. Lasting 18 minutes, this odd little fragment will certainly appeal to Shostakovich completists. Russian-English texts. Vsevolod Grivnon (tenor), Tatiana Sharova (soprano), Anatoly Safiulin (bass), Russian State Symphonic Cappella and Orchestra; Valeri Polyansky. Chandos 9522 (England) 01C011 $16.98

FLORENT SCHMITT (1870-1958): Dionysiaques, Op. 62, CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921): Orient et Occident, Op. 25, DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974): Suite française, Op. 248, EUGÈNE BOZZA (1905-1991): Children's Overture, HECTOR BERLIOZ (1803-1869): Grande Symphonie funèbre et triomphale, Op. 15. Large-scale as it may be, the Berlioz makes up less than half of the French wind band music on this release: Schmitt's work (1914) is almost as orgiastic as its title would suggest (even though it was written for the Garde Royale), Saint-Saëns' 1869 march is supremely tuneful, Bozza's brief overture from 1964 is based on several French nursery and folk-tunes and Milhaud's suite (1945) is named after five French provinces where Americans and Free French fought side by side during the war, using folk tunes specific to each area. Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra; Timothy Reynish. Chandos 9897 (England) 01C012 $16.98

FELA SOWANDE (1905-1987): Three Selections from African Suite, SAMUEL COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912): Petite Suite de Concert, Danse Nègre from African Suite, WILLIAM GRANT STILL (1895-1978): Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American". Although this must be counted as somewhat of a missed opportunity, giving us yet another recording of Still's symphony, only three of five movements from the Nigerian composer Sowande's suite (which has already been recorded complete by a Canadian [!] label) and only one of the four movements of Coleridge-Taylor's identically named suite, it still serves as a useful starting point (and, in fact, is labelled "African Heritage Symphonic Series, Vol. 1") for exploring symphonic repertoire based on African or African-American musical motives (with the exception of Coleridge-Taylor's salon-style Petite Suite). It is especially to be hoped than complete works by Sowande will follow in the near future - especially his Nigerian Folk Symphony. Chicago Sinfonietta; Paul Freeman. Cedille CDR 90000 055 (U.S.A.) 01C013 $16.98

PAUL TORTELIER (1914-1990): Double Concerto for 2 Cellos and Orchestra, Suite in D Minor for Solo Cello, Offrande for Strings, Your Grey-Blue Eyes for Violin and Orchestra. This tribute to the fine French cellist includes a brand-new recording of his 1950 double concerto with his widow as one of the soloists; the music was written in the first flush of their romance and combines a French lyricism with a sort of Hindemithian purposefulness. Appearing for the first time is a 1989 Marlboro Festival recording of Tortelier's 1970 Offrande, a three-movement work for strings which uses fragments of Beethoven themes in a very French manner. The solo cello suite was issued on EMI in 1979 - a fine example of a composer/soloist's homage to his hero, J.S. Bach. Arto Noras, Maud Martin Tortelier (cellos), BBC Philharmonic; Yan Pascal Tortelier, Paul Tortelier (cello), Marlboro Music Festival Orchestra; Paul Tortelier, Ulster Orchestra; Yan Pascal Tortelier (violin). Chandos 9898 (England) 01C014 $13.98

JOSEPH SUDER (1892-1980): Piano Concerto with Clarinet Obbligato, 4 Klavierstücke, 2 lyrische Stücke, Piano Sonata in F. Anyone who loves conservative piano music will want this disc. Suder in some ways may seem not to have progressed beyond Schumann although the form of his concerto (from 1918 but revised 40 years later: in two movements - slow/fast) and the attractive use of the clarinet as a quasi-partner (and, of course, the use of harmonies which could only have come from the turn of the 20th century) identify this as "contemporary" music. The sonata (1914, rev. 1980) is of similarly melodic and attractive quality. Oliver Triendl (piano), Ulf-Guido Schäfer (clarinet), North German Radio Philharmonic, Hannover; Heiko-Mathias Förster. Thorofon CTH 2423 (Germany) 01C015 $16.98

ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Piano Sonata, FERRUCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): 24 Preludes, Op. 37. The Busoni preludes are not great Busoni - but then again, they really don't sound like the juvenilia of a composer who was in his early teens when he finished them. He had been soaking up keyboard styles from Bach to Chopin like a sponge, and although there is certainly an element of pastiche in many of the pieces, the degree of assimilation of the techniques of writing for the piano is nothing short of remarkable. These charming works deserve a place in the catalogue on their own merits. Bliss' sonata is a fully mature work of the composer, English Romanticism writ large in traditional forms and slightly expanded tonality, largely avoiding the iconoclasm of Bliss' youth. Trevor Barnard (piano). Divine Art 2-5011 (England) 01C016 $10.98

GEORG MUFFAT (1653-1704): Organ Works, Vol. 2 - Apparatus musico-organisticus, Part II, Ciacona, Passacaglia, Nova Cyclopeias Harmonica. This completion of the Apparatus (1690) contains four more toccatas which were followed by an Italianate chaconne, a French-style passacaglia and an aria with 8 variations, laid out in the tradition of Handel's Harmonious Blacksmith The collection marks the height of the South German organ toccata as derived from earlier Italian masters. Martin Haselböck (organ of Zwettl Collegiate Church, Austria). Naxos 8.553990 (New Zealand) 01C017 $5.98

ANTONIO VIVALDI (1678-1741): La Silvia, RV 734. Having been dismissed from his posts in Venice through machinations of conservative plotters, Vivaldi launched his comeback in Milan in 1721 with this dramma pastorale loosely based on events surrounding the founding of Rome. The score has been lost but 15 arias and a chorus which can be assigned to the work are presented here in the first recording of all of these fragments together. Italian-French libretto. Roberta Invernizzi (soprano), Gloria Banditelli (mezzo), John Elwes (tenor), Ensemble Baroque de Nice; Gilbert Bezzina. Ligia Lidi 0203090-00 (France) 01C018 $17.98

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759): Silla, HWV 10. Premiere recording of one of Handel's most mysterious operas. There is no record of it ever having been performed although there are numerous fragments of Handel's autograph and manuscript full scores and, discovered in 1969, a word-book with the Italian libretto. Based on Plutarch's life of the Roman dictator Sulla, Silla contains (as usual for Handel) music reused later (particularly his next opera Amadigi) or music recycled from earlier works. The dictator provides one of Handel's most repulsive characters although the finest arias belong to the lead male, Claudio, and to a couple of the female roles. As with almost any of Handel's stage works, there is memorable and moving music here, even if the work itself is rather flawed. Recorded live at the 2000 London Handel Festival. 2 CDs. Italian-English libretto. James Bowman, Simon Baker (countertenors), Joanne Lunn, Rachel Nicholls (sopranos), Christopher Dixon (bass), London Handel Orchestra; Denys Darlow. SOMM CD 227-8 (England) 01C019 $35.98

MANUEL ARENZANA (18th cen.): Matins for Our Lady of Guadalupe, Te Deum laudamus, Te ergo quaesumus. Our Lady of Guadalupe was and remains the primary symbol of Mexican nationhood and, in the baroque and classical periods, produced the finest efforts from Mexico's native composers. Arenzana wrote these matins over the course of several years in the late 1790s and crowned them with a brilliant Te Deum. The music's spirit is that of Italian secular music, with a transparent and expressive harmonic language, which will have blended well with the simple, outdoor celebrations of the Lady's feast day. Irasema Terrazas (soprano), Gabriela Thierry (mezzo), Flavio Becerra (tenor), Daniel Cervantes (bass), Antonio Santoyo (organ), Chorus and Chamber Ensemble of Mexico City; Benjamín Juárez Echenique. Urtext UMA 2013 (Mexico) 01C020 $17.98

FRANCESCO BONPORTI (1672-1749): Com-plete Works, Vol. 2 - 10 Sonate da camera, Op. 2. If Bach found Bonporti interesting enough to transcribe several of his works, who are we to argue? This set of chamber sonatas dates from 1703 and they exhibit a distancing from Corelli's models a drift toward a more modern taste. Accademia I Filarmonici; Alberto Martini. Dynamic CDS 352 (Italy) 01C021 $17.98

GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Violin Concertos, Vol. 7 - in E Minor, D 57, in D, D 16, in E, D 48, in G, D 76. This new volume takes us back to Tartini's first compositional period (1721-1735) with four never-before-recorded works existing only in manuscript - three movement works (fast-slow-fast) rich in melody in the outer movements and full of feeling and pathos in the slow movements. L'Arte dell'Arco; Giovanni Guglielmo. Dynamic CDS 279 (Italy) 01C022 $17.98

GIUSEPPE TARTINI (1692-1770): Cello Concertos in D & in A, 2 Flute Concertos in D, Sonate a Quattro in D & in A. There are two cello concertos among Tartini's hundredweight of compositions for the violin, one of them from his early period (a four-movement work with a pair of horns standing out brilliantly among the string accompaniment) and one from the middle period (featuring a gorgeous pre-Romantic Larghetto and a bizzare, playful finale). The flute concertos are not certainly by Tartini and are simple works with somewhat more ample slow movements. The Sonate are performed here on single instruments as they are prototypical of classical quartet writing. L'Arte dell'Arco; Giovanni Guglielmo. Dynamic CDS 285 (Italy) 01C023 $17.98

Les Chemins du Baroque, Vol. 21

LUIS ALVAREZ PINTO (c.1719-c.1789): Te deum, JOÃO RODRIGUES ESTEVES (c.1700-c.1755): Magnificat, ANON.: Sonata Chiquitana for Organ, MANOEL DIAS DE OLIVEIRA (c.1734-1813): Miserere, Magnificat, INACIO PARREIRAS NEVES (c.1730-c.1794): Salve Regina, CARLOS SEIXAS (1704-1742): Organ Sonata. The largest-scale work here is Pinto's Te deum for which horn and string parts had to be conjectured but the most interesting are the remaining items. These are by black or mulatto composers who, unable to access the musical instruction given to whites, were forced to teach themselves using the range of scores which were imported from Spain and Portugal. Thus, we have a strange and striking combination of Renaissance polyphony and Classical melody. Musique des Lumières; Jean-Christophe Frisch. K617 113 (France) 01C024 $17.98

JOHANN BAPTIST VANHAL (1739-1813): Double Bass Concerto in D, CARL DITTERS VON DITTERSDORF (1739-1799): 2 Double Bass Concertos in D. The repertoire is not exactly unusual any longer but the soloist is arguably the finest current exponent of her instrument (either the "authentic" version or the modern one, which she plays here) and the performances sparkle with "period" scholarship applied to perfection with modern instruments. Chi-Chi Nwanoku (double bass), Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Paul Goodwin. Hyperion CDA 67179 (England) 01C025 $17.98

FERDINAND RIES (1784-1838): Quintet in B Minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass, Op. 74, Grand Sextuor in C for 2 Violins, Viola, Cello, Double Bass and Piano, Op. 100 Sextet in G Minor for Harp, Piano, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn and Double Bass, Op. 142. Each of these pieces contains a brilliant piano part (probably for Ries himself to play); the double bass parts may be due to the composer's friendship with the Italian virtusoso Dragonetti. Everything here is sparkling, upbeat and attractive; Ries was Beethoven's pupil and sometimes he sounds like his master but if so here, it is the early Beethoven which comes to mind. (Coming soon: Ries' Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2!) Ensemble Concertant Frankfurt. CPO 999 622 (Germany) 01C026 $10.98

CONRADIN KREUTZER (1780-1849): Schäfers Sonntagslied, In der Ferne, Trinklied, Frühlings-glaube, Die Kapelle (2 versions), Nähe, An die unter-gehende Sonne, Aufmunterung zur Freude, Des Hirten Winterlied, Ruhetal, Frühlingsgruß, Frühlingslied eines Rezensenten, An die Nachtigall, Jägerlied, Trinklied, Blumenlied, Die sanften Tage, Lied der Mignon, Frühlingsnahen, Soldatenlied, Frühlingsandacht, Auf der Wanderung, Auf den Wellen. Kreutzer's 163 works for male voices form a cross-section of the fundamental themes of the Biedermeyer period: contemplation of nature, observation of the seasons, love songs, drinking songs, hunting songs and the love of one's fatherland. There are examples of all in this well-chosen collection mostly for a cappella voices but with a few songs with the accompaniment of an 1825 hammerklavier. German-English texts. Die Singphoniker. CPO 999 693 (Germany) 01C027 $15.98

PETER CORNELIUS (1824-1874): Requiem, Die Vätergruft, Op. 19, 3 Chorgesänge, Op. 11, Die Könige, Op. 8/3, Liebe: Ein Zyklus von 3 Chorliedern, Op. 18, Der alte Soldat, Op. 12/1, 3 Psalmlieder, Op. 13, So weich und warm, Trauerchöre, Op. 9, Trost in Tränen, Op. 14. Unlike Kreutzer, Cornelius stuck almost entirely to music for the voice - lieder and choral works. His study with Liszt was an important impetus for his sacred compositions but he also wrote much for the same sort of amateur choral societies that Schubert and Kreutzer did. This collection offers examples of both, as well as a fascinating oddity - the op. 13 Psalmlieder use music from three of Bach's instrumental works! German-English texts. Polyphony; Stephen Layton. Hyperion CDA 67206 (England) 01C028 $17.98

FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Missa Choralis for Mixed Choir, Vocal Solos and Organ, S10, Via Crucis for Mixed Choir, Vocal Solos and Organ, S53. And now, Cornelius' teacher: the mass dates from 1865, the year Liszt took minor orders and compounds Palestrina and plainsong. Dating from the next year, the Via Crucis is one of Liszt's most personal works and it describes the 14 Stations of the Cross in uncompromising, expressionistic and modern music Latin-English texts. Corydon Singers; Matthew Best, Thomas Trotter (organ). Hyperion CDA 67199 (England) 01C029 $17.98

IGNAZ MOSCHELES (1794-1870): Grosse Sonate für das Pianoforte, Op. 41, Sonate mélancolique, Op. 49, La Gaité, Op. 85, Grandes Variations sur la Marche favorite de L'Empereur Alexandre I, Op. 32, Characteristic Tribute to the Memory of Malibran, Op. 94. Period instruments enhance Moscheles' virtuosic excursions! Tom Beghin (fortepianos). Eufoda 1267 (Belgium) 01C030 $18.98

ADOLF WALLNÖFER (1854-1946): Meditation on the Adagio from the Moonlight Sonata, IVAN MÜLLER (1786-1854): Konzertstück on the Song "Adelaide", Op. 46, CHRISTIAN RUMMEL (1787-1849): Fantasie on "Ah, Perfido", Op. 77, JOHANN SOBECK (1831-1914): Concerto in D after the Unfinished Violin Concerto WoO 5. The borrowing of well-known melodies for use as the bases of different compositions was not limited to the pianistic operatic fantasies of the 19th century; these four "clarinet concertos" take famous Beethoven motifs and create new works around them to fascinating and entertaining effect. Dieter Klöcker (clarinet), Prague Chamber Orchestra; Milan Lajcík. Orfeo C 064 001 A (Germany) 01C031 $18.98

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): Recollections of Paganini, IGNAZ MOSCHELES (1794-1870): 2 Gems à la Paganini, FRIEDRICH KUHLAU (1786-1832): La Clochette, FERRUCCIO BUSONI (1866-1924): Introduzione e Capriccio Paganinesco, LUIGI DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975): Sonatina Canonica su Capricci di N. Paganini, FRANZ LISZT (1811-1886): Grands Études de Paganini. The responses of several generations of musicians to Paganini's virtuosic pieces include world premiere recordings of Hummel's Biedermeyer style salon work and of Dallapiccola's 1943 tour de force. Marco Pasini (piano). Dynamic CDS 360 (Italy) 01C032 $17.98

VITTORIO GNECCHI (1876-1954): Cassandra. Premiered by Toscanini in December of 1905, this work was to cause a great controversy when an Italian musicologist later pointed out, in a serious and impartial pair of articles, over 50 instances of very close musical and dramatic correspondances with Strauss' Elektra (written in 1908 by a composer who had been given a vocal score of Cassandra three years before by Gnecchi). A gripping work which uses ancient Greek scales and modes, well worthy of this revival. 2 CDs. Italian libretto. Tea Demurishvili (mezzo), Alberto Cupido (tenor), Denia Mazzola-Gavazzeni (soprano), Latvian Radio Chorus, Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon National Orchestra; Enrique Diemecke. Agorá AG 260.2 (Italy) 01C033 $37.98

PRIMO RICCITELLI (1875-1941): I Compagnacci. Overlooked by Opera Grove, Riccitelli was a student of Mascagni, who was instrumental in helping his student get commissions and performances in his 20s and 30s. The work here was written in 1922 and became Riccitelli's most succesful piece, a one-act tale of thwarted and then achieved love against the backdrop of the 1498 Savonarola heresy. Italian-English libretto. Armando Ariostini (baritone), Carla Laudi (soprano), Maurizio Frusoni (tenor), Coro Lirico Marchigiano "Vincenzo Bellini" di Ancona, Orchestra Sinfonica di Teramo "Primo Riccitelli"; Antonio Pirolli. Bongiovanni GB 2273 (Italy) 01C034 $16.98

SERGEI LYAPUNOV (1859-1924): Sonata in F Minor, Op. 27, Barcarolle in G Sharp Minor, Op. 46, Variations on a Georgian Theme, Op. 60, Fêtes de Noël (4 Tableaux), Op. 41, Nocturne in D Flat, Op. 8, Mazurka No. 8 in G Minor, Op. 36. The intensely dramatic and powerful 1908 sonata (also on our most recent Husum Festival release in November 2000) occupies only a third of this disc, leaving plenty of space to get acquainted with more of Lyapunov's generous, full-blooded Romanticism with a predilection for the sensual, poetic and delicate with more than a whiff of the Orient, especially in the Variations and the Barcarolle. Anthony Goldstone (piano). Olympia OCD 688 (England) 01C035 $16.98

NIKOLAI RUBINSTEIN (1835-1881): 2 Mazurkas, Op. 11, 2 Feuillets d'Album, ANTON RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894): Sonata No. 3 in F, Op. 41, Romance in F, Op. 26/1, Impromptu in F, Op. 16/1, Berceuse in D, Op. 16/2, Romance in E Flat, Op. 44/1, Barcarolle in G Minor, Op. 50. Having spent most of his career as a conductor, Nikolai wrote very little but these four pieces show astriking melodic gift and sense of irony and humor. The Third Sonata is the only one which the composer ever played complete in public and its symphonic proportions and heroic writing challenge any pianist. Ryabchikov performs here on a 1913 Steinway preserved in a Swedish collection. Victor Ryabchikov (piano). Olympia OCD 687 (England) 01C036 $16.98

ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Complete Piano Music, Vol. 1 - Sonata No. 1 in D Flat Minor, Op. 74, Sonata No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 75, Theme and Variations in F Sharp Minor, Op. 72, 2 Impromtus, Op. 54. Unlike the other members of his generation (for example, Lyapunov, Rachmaninov and Scriabin) Glazunov remained a Classicist and Chopin remained the greatest influence on his piano works. Depths of emotion are not plumbed; everything remains decorous and traditional, often with a strong sense of nostalgia. Both sonatas were written in 1901 and they are full of Glazunov's characteristick melodic craft, the scherzos, like those of his symphonies, catchy and memorable, but all movements full of glittering virtuosity. Duane Hulbert (piano). Bridge 9102 (U.S.A.) 01C037 $16.98

ANTONÍN DVORÁK (1841-1904): 8 Preludes and Fugues, JEAN SIBELIUS (1865-1957): Intrada, Op. 111a, Surusoitto, Op. 111b, Masonic Ritual Music, Op. 113, Nos. 1 & 10, ALEXANDER GLAZUNOV (1865-1936): Prelude and Fugue in D, Op. 93, Prelude and Fugue in D Minor, Op. 98, Fantasy, Op. 110. This is volume one in a series of organ music by famous symphonic composers. Sibelius' works, as is evident from the opus numbers, are late, dating from 1927 and 1931 - grave and severe works which breathe the cold, dark atmosphere of a Finnish winter. Dvorák's, on the other hand, come from his 18th year - student works of some charm. Glazunov's three preludes and fugues (1907 and 1914) are masterful examples of the form showing a brilliant composer fully exploiting the possibilities of the form. Hans-Ola Ericsson (Woehl organ of St. Petrus Canisius, Friedrichshafen/Bodensee, Germany). BIS CD-1101 (Sweden) 01C038 $17.98

PAUL CONSTANTINESCU (1909-1963): Joc-Cantec-Joc dobrogean, GEORGE ENESCU (1881-1955): Piano Sonata, Op. 24/1, Romanian Rhapsody, Op. 11/1, 2 Extracts from Piano Suite No. 3, BELA BARTÓK (1881-1945): 6 Romanian Dances. Constantinescu's only piano work (1952) is pure folk-music in content, using two dances from the Banat region which surround a slow, lamenting doina. The Choral and Carillon from Enescu's piano suite are evocative paintings of village worship and of the omnipresent church bells respectively, while the 1924 sonata has outer movements steeped in the characterisically Romanian nostalgia and lament while its central scherzo offers the equally typical explosion of vital energy to offset the agonizing, introspective questioning of the outer movements. Dana Ciocarlie (piano). L'Empreinte Digitale ED 13122 (France) 01C039 $17.98

MAX REGER (1873-1916): 5 Special Studies for Piano (after Chopin), LOUIS GRUENBERG (1884-1964): Jazz Masks, Op. 30a, KAIKHOSRU SHAPURJU SORABJI (1892-1988): Pastiche on the Minute Waltz of Chopin, Pasticcio capriccioso sopra l'op.64, no. 1 del Chopin, LEOPOLD GODOWSKI (1870-1938): Waltz in D Flat, Op. 64/1 (Chopin), JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Study after F. Chopin, ALEKSANDER MICHALOWSKI (1851-1938): Paraphrase on the Waltz in D Flat Major, Op. 64, no. 1 by Fryderyk Chopin, RAFAEL JOSEFFY (1852-1915): Concert Study on the Waltz in D Flat Major by Chopin, Second Concert Study after Chopin (Étude, Op. 10/5), MORITZ MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925): Waltz, Op. 64, No. 1 (Chopin), ISADORE PHILIPP (1863-1958): Concert Study for the Left Hand after Chopin (Op. 64, No. 1), First Concert Study after a Waltz by Chopin (Op. 64, No. 1), ALFRED CORTOT (1877-1962): Largo from the Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 65 by Chopin, MORITZ ROSENTHAL (1862-1946): Study on the Waltz, Op. 64, No. 1 by Chopin, GIUSEPPE FERRATA (1856-1928): Second Study on Chopin's Waltz, Op. 64, No. 1, JOE FURST (20th cen.): Showpan Boogie, FRYDERYK CHOPIN (1810-1849): Waltz in D Flat, Op. 64/1. This is a concept album, and the concept is quite a pleasing one - lots and lots of transcriptions of Chopin's "Minute" waltz by different composers. There are the customary Grand-Piano-Romantic fireworks, ornamentation and technical difficulties from Michalowski, Joseffy, Moskowski, Rosenthal and the like - lots of thirds substituting for single note lines in the original, that sort of thing. Many of the conmposers introduce ingenious counterpoints which get away from the more obvious (though still delightful) virtuosic-showpiece theme (Reger, for instance, whose five Studies after different works of Chopin are all included, and Sorabji (both of whose Pastiches on Op. 64 No. 1 are here)). The Godowsky is chromatic and complex, while remaining always consummately respectful of the original, as Godowsky the transcriber always was. Then there are a couple of jazz-style works, which are great fun, especially the clever and stunningly pianistic Gruenberg - he studied with Busoni, what did you expect? (on other Chopin works). A transcription-fancier's treasure-trove. Just try not to enjoy it. Fredrik Ullén (piano). BIS CD-1083 (Sweden) 01C040 $17.98

PETER HEISE (1830-1879): Dyveke's Songs, 14 Songs. Originally released in 1993, this collection of songs profiles Denmark's most prolific song composer (over 300 in all). The fact that they are almost all in his native language has prevented Heise from wider fame since these are lovely, Romantic pieces in the vein of Mendelsssohn and Schumann. The cycle Dyvekes Sange, dating from the year of his death, is Heise's most mature work, coming as it did after he had written several operas and its tale of a low-born girl obssessed with a handsome nobleman has superficial similarities with Schumann's Frauenliebe but concentrates on deeper and more complicated emotions. Danish-English texts. Majken Bjerno (soprano), Tove Lønskov (piano). Kontrapunkt 32170 (Denmark) 01C041 $16.98

NIELS W. GADE (1817-1890): Complete Songs, Vol. 1 - 19 Songs for Baritone and Piano, 4 Songs for Soprano, Baritone and Piano. German/Danish texts. Lars Thodberg Bertelsen (baritone), Majken Bjerno (soprano), Tove Lønskov (piano). Kontrapunkt 32269 (Denmark) 01C042 $16.98

NIELS W. GADE (1817-1890): Complete Songs, Vol. 2 - 26 Songs for Soprano and Piano. German/Danish texts. Majken Bjerno (soprano), Tove Lønskov (piano). Kontrapunkt 32279 (Denmark) 01C043 $16.98

NIELS W. GADE (1817-1890): Complete Songs, Vol. 3 - Knud Lavard, Holger Danskes Sange, 5 Fædrelanshistoriske Sange, Jægerens Sommerliv, 7 other songs. Danish texts. Lars Thodberg Bertelsen (baritone), Tove Lønskov (piano). Kontrapunkt 32289 (Denmark) 01C044 $16.98

Gade set his songs in both Danish and German throughout his career although he was, perhaps the most Germanic of all the Danish composers of the 19th century, having followed the Mendelssohn/Schumann tradition all of his life. Thus, one will find influences ranging from Schubert to Loewe (in the ballads), to Mendlessohn and to Schumann. Everything is profoundly musical, as once would expect from Gade, and will appeal to any lover of the 19th century Germanic lied.

PAULINE VIARDOT (1821-1910): Cendrillon. Volume three of the Il Salotto series of salon music from the 19th century, this is a chamber operetta in three acts, with only piano accompaniment, which the noted vocalist and composer wrote in her old age - somewhere between 1883 and 1904 - the former date being Turgenev's death (and he would have provided the libretto had he been alive as he had for several previous works), the latter the only known performance. Light, affectionate and obviously entertaining, this enjoyable trife receives the usual lavish Opera Rara treatment. French-English libretto. Sandrine Piau (soprano), Jean-Luc Viala (tenor), Members of the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Nicholas Kok (piano). Opera Rara ORR 212 (England) 01C045 $18.98

NICOLO ISOUARD (c.1775-1818): Cendrillon. Premiered in Paris in 1810, this version of "Cinderella" was performed throughout Europe and only gradually gave way in popularity to Rossini's La Cenerentola after 1817. The piece's charm lies in its simplicity and naïveté, as well as the originality of giving Cinderella has simple, loveable music and her ugly sisters the coloratura arias with all of the vocal pyrotechnics (also the only arias, since most of the opera consists of romances and ensembles). Likely to be one of the few operas by a Maltese composer you'll ever have on your shelves, too! 2 CDs. Live recording. French-English libretto. Ludmila Shilova (soprano) Nikolai Doroshkin (tenor), Maria Struve Children's Choir, Ensemble XXI Moscow; Richard Bonynge. Olympia OCD 661 A+B (England) 01C046 $33.98

NICCOLÒ PICCINNI (1728-1800): Le donne vendicate. Piccinni's 26th opera dates from 1763, a comedy to a libretto by Goldoni which reverses that author's misogynistic bent to depict a woman-hater getting his own. A delightful collection of melodic arias and ensembles which does much to rehabilitate this still neglected composer, who was one of the most important of his period. Italian-English libretto. Letizia Calandra (soprano), Rosanna Casucci (mezzo), Vincenzo Sanso (tenor), Collegium Musicum Chamber Orchestra; Rino Marrone. Bongiovanni GB 2282 (Italy) 01C047 $16.98

VINCENZO FIOCCHI (1767-1843): Piramo e Tisbe. Unknown to Grove, Fiocchi studied, among others, with Padre Martini and had quite a bit of success during his life with his comic operas. This cantata was recently discovered in a Swiss library and is of unknown date. It contains one aria and a couple of scenas each for the ill-fated lovers, a duet and a finale, all in a musical style which doesn't go much past middle-period Haydn. Italian-English texts. Elena Belfiore (mezzo), Enrico Facini (tenor), La Magnifica Comunità; Ricardo Correa. Bongiovanni GB 5105 (Italy) 01C048 $16.98

JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU (1683-1764)/FRANÇOIS FRANCUR (1698-1787): Suites de Simphonies. In 1773, Francur was commissioned to provide a suite of dances for a royal wedding; as was usual in that period, he made good use of previously existing music - principally in this case, that of Rameau. This new recording presents both the original and Francur's "up-to-date" settings. Ensemble Stradivaria; Daniel Cuiller. Cyprès CYP 1626 (Belgium) 01C049 $18.98

JOHANN VESQUE VON PÜTTLINGEN (1803-1883): Die Heimkehr, Vol. 2. Known equally as a jurist and composer, ranked the most important Austrian lieder composer between Schubert and Brahms, Püttlingen's star is rising again thanks to Signum's advocacy of this mammoth accomplishment - the setting of all 88 of Heine's Heimkehr poems from his Buch der Lieder. Full of unexpected twists, ironic commentary, romantic and sentimental settings, the poetry is exceeded in quality only by the amazing consistency and artistic craft of the composer in setting it. The remaining volume will be issued in spring. German-English texts. Markus Schäfer (tenor), Christian de Bruyn (piano). Signum X105-00 (Germany) 01C050 $17.98

VIKTOR KALABIS (b.1912): Symphony No. 3, Op. 33, Violin Concerto No. 2, Op. 49, Concerto for Large Orchestra, Op. 25. One of Czechoslovakia's most important 20th century composers, Kalabis sees the light of day again thanks to this excellent compilation from Panton. The symphony, dating from 1971) seems to have been inspired by the events following the Prague Spring as its opening movement (marked angoscioso) is a bleak, anxious soundscape of gray, bleached-out tone colors. The central movement is an angry, dramatic scherzo and the final movement attempts to achieve some kind of catharsis. The concerto for orchestra (1966) is a virtuosic piece which puts a brilliant orchestra through its paces but tension and anger seem to infuse many of its movements as well. The one-movement violin concerto (1978) likewise adopts an antagonistic format with a heroic soloist doing battle with large-scale orchestral opponent. Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; Jirí Belohlávek, Josef Suk (violin), Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Wolfgang Sawallisch, Ladislav Slovák. Panton 81 9027-2 (Czech Republic) 01C051 $16.98

VLADIMÍR SOMMER (1921-1997): Vocal Symphony for Mezzo-Soprano, Speaker, Mixed Choir and Orchestra, Cello Concerto, Antigona. Like 1956's Antigona, a prelude to Sophocles' tragedy, the 1958 Vocal Symphony is tragic in tone, concerned with evil and the suffering men must endure. Its first movement sets Kafka's Nachts has an oppressive atmosphere and the second quotes Raskolnikov's dream from Crime and Punishment in a dramatic outcry against human brutality while the third uses Pavese's "Death Will Come" to introduce a note of calm in the face of man's lot. The 1979 concerto is another work of brooding tragedy, a little more introspective than its discmates, with the soloist engaging in a Don Quixote-type dialogue with the orchestra. Czech-English texts. Vera Soukupová (mezzo), Otakar Brousek (speaker) Czech Phliharmonic Chorus and Orchestra; Václav Nuemann, Daniel Veis (cello), Prague Symphony Orchestra; Jirí Belohlávek, Czech PO; Alexander Rahbari. Panton 81 9028-2 (Czech Republic) 01C052 $16.98

HANS EKLUND (b.1927): Music for Orchestra, Fantasia for Cello and String Orchestra, String Quartet No. 3, Small Talk for Flute and Clarinet. Ah, the 60s... nuclear angst, the Organization Man, thin ties and tense, anxiety-filled, tonal music from Swedish composers! Music for Orchestra (1960) starts out as the Brahms Third - and then fear and loathing arrive; the string quartet, from the same year, is, not surprisingly, similar in tone. Dating from 1971, the brief concertante cello work is merely deadly serious. There are many of us out there who love this stuff; if you don't have this, don't wait because who knows when the deletion axe may fall! Mid-price. Åke Olofsson (cello), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Stig Westerberg, Harry Damgaard, Norrköping Quartet, Börje Mårelius (flute), Tore Westlund (clarinet). Swedish Society SCD 1038 (Sweden) 01C053 $11.98

GÖSTA NYSTROEM (1890-1966): Sinfonia del mare, Songs by the Sea for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra, Prelude to The Tempest for Women's Choir and Orchestra. This trilogy of works inspired by the sea begins with the 1934 prelude to incidental music for Shakespeare's play which uses a wordless women's choir to depict the sirens calling from far off over the sea; most of the piece is a dynamic and rhythmic depiction of the storm which can go down alongside some of the other famous storm-musics of the 20th century. The five-song cycle of 1943 uses four different poets and no two songs are alike with a range going from nocturnal luminescence to darkling, giant-haunted shores. The symphony was Nystroem's third, dating from 1948, and was his most famous and successful. A song stands in its center and the storm rages also in parts of this work but there are moments of warmth and stillness as well. Swedish-English texts. Charlotte Hellekant (mezzo), Swedish Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra; Evgeni Svetlanov. Phono Suecia/Musica Sveciae PSCD 709 (Sweden) 01C054 $16.98

ALAN RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971): Cello Concerto, Oboe Concerto, Symphonic Studies. Two world premiere recordings - the 1947 oboe concerto was written for Evelyn Rothwell and features two rather introspective and delicate movements followed by a jig-like finale of great good humor. The cello concerto (1966) is on a larger scale, lasting over half an hour, but is still largely lyrical, with a deft handling of orchestral color. Symphonic Studies (1939) was Rawsthorne's first orchestral work and its rigor, elegance and complete command bely its composer's symphonic inexperience. Alexander Baillie (cello), Stéphane Rancourt (oboe), Royal Scottish National Orchestra; David Lloyd-Jones. Naxos 8.554763 (New Zealand) 01C055 $5.98

ARTHUR BLISS (1891-1975): Piano Concerto. This is the 1962 EMI recording which has long been considered the work's best. Dating from 1939, it was a commission from the British Council to be performed at the New York World's Fair. In three movements, it is very much in the grand romantic heritage of concertos by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Liszt, demanding a high level of virtuosity from the soloist and richly orchestrated. Budget-price. Trevor Barnard (piano), Philharmonia Orchestra; Malcolm Sargent. Divine Art 2-4106 (England) 01C056 $6.98

JAMES P. JOHNSON (1891-1955): Yamekraw (A Negro Rhapsody), DUKE ELLINGTON (1899-1974): New World a-Comin', WILLIAM GRANT STILL (1895-1978): Africa, SCOTT JOPLIN (1868-1917): Overture from Treemonisha, GEORGE GERSHWIN (1898-1937): Rhapsody in Blue. So, we needed the Italians to give us a fine collection of African-American art music! Still's original version of Africa has little to do with that place and a lot to do with African-American music, from spirituals to blues, brushed up and filtered through Western art music forms; Johnson's Yamekraw is a good deal more raw and powerful - the most striking piece on the disc, while Ellington's piece is noble, refined and graceful. Marco Fumo (piano). Dynamic CDS 351 (Italy) 01C057 $17.98

HERMAN D. KOPPEL (1908-1998): Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 6, Op. 63 "Sinfonia breve", Symphony No. 7, Op. 70, Concerto for Orchestra, Op. 101. Koppel was very much a follower of Carl Nielsen, and this shows in these muscular, impulsive symphonies, which, although they do not sound directly derived from the works of the older composer, nonetheless not infrequently contain gestures or phrases which suddenly bring one up with a start - hey, that sounds like that bit in Nielsen 5! - and then it's gone again, in favor of something that sounds more like Bartók, or Stravinsky's Symphony in 3 Movements, or Mahler, or Franz Schmidt. You will gather from these comparisons that the music is predominantly tonal, although not conservative, and the composer does not shy away from dissonance, especially in the two later works, which seem to have occurred after something of a watershed in Koppel's career, perhaps more in the direction of Holmboe or Nørgard. All three pieces are tough, economical and dramatic, with a sinewy strength and a complete absence of wallowing in any form of sentimentality. Aalborg Symphony Orchestra; Moshe Atzmon. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224135 (Denmark) 01C058 $14.98

SIGURD VON KOCH (1879-1919): Piano Quintet, EDVIN KALLSTENIUS (1881-1967): Clarinet Quintet, Op. 17, JOHN FERNSTRÖM (1897-1961): Wind Quintet, Op. 59. von Koch's 1916 quintet is in the Grand Romantic style, employing a wide range of textures and a wealth of color in an impulsively riveting musical ride; Fernström's 1943 work for winds is spontaneous, witty and fresh - a contrapuntal game of subtlety and elegance, while the Kallstenius (1930) conveys the same nostalgic, backward-looking feeling of the Brahms while rallying to finish with a lively, light-hearted, folk-influenced finale. Lucia Negro (piano), Niklas Andersson (clarinet), The Lysell Quartet, The Amadé Quintet. Phono Suecia/Musica Sveciae PSCD 708 (Sweden) 01C059 $16.98

BENGT HAMBRÆUS (b.1928): Continuo a partire da Pachelbel for Organ and Orchestra, Canvas with Mirrors for Organ and Tape, Cadenza for Organ. These two discs present a portrait of an extremely impressive organist-composer, who establishes his credentials from the outset with the exuberant Cadenza for organ, a virtuoso showpiece with all the stops pulled out, metaphorically speaking. Messiaen, with whom Hambraeus studied, is an obvious influence, as is the European Romantic organ tradition. In Canvas with Mirrors, for organ and tape, we take a step away from this tradition towards Darmstadt and the early electronic methods used by Stockhausen and others, transmuting oboe sounds (in this case) into a tape composition which is "projected" on the "canvas" of the organ part. Continuo is likewise a sonically impressive work, also in a more modern idiom than Cadenza, but not employing electronics. Here the composer's dissonant chords, tonal centres of gravity and complex rhythmic and polyphonic textures are played out on full orchestra and organ, to great effect. Mid-price. Werner Jacob (organ), Südwestfunk Symphony Orchestra; Ernest Bour, Hans Hellsten (organ). MAP CD 9131 (Sweden) 01C060 $11.98

BENGT HAMBRÆUS (b.1928): Livre d'Orgue, Vol. 4, Interferenzen, Toccata Momentum per Max Reger. Volume 2 consists of organ music, beginning with the ingeniously conceived Interferenzen, which uses beats between adjacent notes in clusters to create textures very like those of electronic music - this was, along with Ligeti's Volumina one of the 1960s organ works that heralded the arrival of the organ in the avant-garde, as a vast sound generator. Pseudo-electronic sounds also occur in the ingenious Toccata, which nonetheless pays affectionate tribute to late-romantic organ writing, Reger's in particular. Hambraeus' most famous work is probably the four-volume Livre d'orgue, of which this disc presents the 40-minute volume 4. Much of what we hear here is more akin to conventional organ writing - at least as Messiaen would have understood it - than the other works, using canonic and fugal textures and contrapuntal techniques that have been central to organ writing since the Baroque. Mid-price. Hans Hellsten (organ). MAP CD 9236 (Sweden) 01C061 $11.98

BO LINDE (1939-1970): String Trio, Op. 37, Sonatina for Piano, Op. 15/1, Divertimento for Flute, Cello and Piano, Op. 25, Sonata a tre, Op. 38 (Piano Trio No. 2). These chamber works are mostly from late in Linde's life, and they combine a very Shostakovich-like sound world and harmonic language with an almost Sibelian concentration. There is a definite sense of no note being wasted here, of every phrase carrying its full weight, and the music is distilled to its very essence, uneasy and predominantly dark-hued, intense and economically expressed. Mid-price. Lucia Negro (piano), Ulf Bergström (flute, piccolo), Uppsala Chamber Soloists. MAP CD 9025 (Sweden) 01C062 $11.98

MATTHIAS RONNEFELD (1959-1986): Grodek, Op. 7, Capriccio, Op. 8, 4 Lieder für Dulcinea, Op. 9, Konzertstück for Organ, Op. 3, Andante for Viola and 5 Instruments, Op. 1, 7 Lieder nach dem Hohelied Salomos, Op. 5b, Veni, creator spiritus. Ronnefeld was influenced by Zimmerman, Ligeti and Berg. Despite his youth, Ronnefeld had already developed a very personal voice by the time of his death. The music is freely atonal, though with tonal references (the organ work, for example, is closer to Messiaen than Ligeti a good deal of the time, despite some restrained use of clusters). The songs have an expressionistic lyrical drama that allies them most closely of the works here to the second Viennese school; the instrumental pieces are necessarily more abstract, but here too there is a sense of an underlying line, and of dramatic emotional conflict, sardonic, noir-ish humor or grotesquerie. German/ Danish-English texts. Daniela Bechly (soprano), Randi Stene (mezzo), Christian Tetzlaff (violin), Deborah Wood (piano), Jens E. Christensen (organ), Lars Ulrik Mortensen (harpsichord), Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen; Sebastian Gottschick. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224154 (Denmark) 01C063 $14.98

LOWELL LIEBERMANN - Full-Blooded American Romanticism!

LOWELL LIEBERMANN (b.1961): Symphony No. 2, Op. 67, Flute Concerto, Op. 39. Fans of big, emotional, tonal Romantic 20th-century orchestral music will hail this symphony as the second coming of Mahler's 8th, or Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, or Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony, or Saint-Saëns Third. Get the idea? Any collection that contains at least 2 of those works had better be expanded by this disc at least. If you don't think that a composer not yet 40 has any business writing, without a trace of irony, music so unabashedly un-modern, then don't buy it, but you will be missing out on a real treat. Both these works, but especially the symphony, demonstrate very clearly that for a composer who really has something to say, the language of tonality is absolutely not exhausted, and both provide a powerful listening experience to compare with any of their Romantic forebears. Very highly recommended. Eugenia Zuckerman (flute), Dallas Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; Andrew Litton. Delos DE 3256 (U.S.A.) 01C064 $16.98

KAREL HUSA (b.1921): String Quartet No. 1, Op. 8, Variations for Piano Quartet, 5 Poems for Wind Quintet. A Panton release with Supraphon stickers over the Panton logos... well, who cares? Husa's music needs to be more widely disseminated and this new, digital, recording of his 1948 quartet - tense, anxious and fragmented (as one would expect of a composer fleeing the Soviets and going into exile) - provides valuable historical reference. The Variations (1984) evoke bell sounds through the avant-garde language of the day while the 1994 Poems are a five-movement paean to birds, composed while Husa was in Florida and which are very accessable to anyone remotely familiar with Messiaen. Suk Quartet, Prague String Trio, Jaromír Klepác (piano), Prague Wind Quintet. Supraphon 81 9009 (Czech Republic) 01C065 $16.98

LEROY ROBERTSON (1896-1971): Two Concert Etudes for Piano, Piano Quintet in A Minor, 3 Songs from the Shadow, The American Serenade (Quartet No. 1). He may have been "The Dean of Mormon Composers", and have written an oratorio based on the Book of Mormon, but these chamber works espouse no particular denominational dogma, although it is not hard to point to a preoccupation with matters spiritual, in his chosen texts (his own, and Whitman's) in the songs, and also in the very Romantic sensibility with which all the works here are invested. Robertson studied with Bloch, and his teacher's rhythmic and harmonic vitality obviously appealed to the younger composer - if Bloch's works appeal to you, then this disc will be an easy recommendation. Although somewhat conservative, these are attractive works of considerable emotional depth which also radiate an open-air Americanism, more sophistictaed than much of Copland in similar vein. Various Artists. Tantara TCD-019511HS (U.S.A.) 01C066 $16.98

HANS PFITZNER (1869-1949): Das Christ-Elflein, Op. 20. This fairy-tale opera was premiered in 1917 using music which Pfitzner had composed over a decade earlier for a stage play. Simple, lyrically Romantic music clothes a story which in today's cynical times would be called cloyingly schmaltzy (if not worse) - an Elf eventually taking the place of a dying peasant child at Christmas. Enjoyable on any terms, the work is especially valuable to Pfitzner collectors as the exception that proves the rule about his typically brooding, angst-ridden, suffering music. 2 CDs. English synopsis. Helen Donath (soprano), Janet Perry (soprano), Bavarian Radio Choir, Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra; Kurt Eichhorn. Orfeo C 437 992 I (Germany) 01C067 $33.98

RAFAELLO DE BANFIELD: Una lettera d'amore di Lord Byron. This opera, based on a one-act play by Tennessee Williams, concerns the internal dramas of a small number of largely inconsequential people, a husband and wife and two women who own an authentic letter from Byron written to the older in her youth. Reminiscences, the disfunctionality of human relationships and the lack of communication between people are the subjects of the text (the surprise ending is just another episode of concealment and misunderstanding), and the music is cast in the conventional romantic mould derived from the Italian tradition, containing nothing that would surprise Puccini much. It nonetheless illuminates the story and underlines its emotional significance with atmospheric precision. Italian-English libretto. Elena Zilio (soprano), Sylvie Valayre (mezzo), Orchestra Sinfonia dell'Emilia Romagna "Arturo Toscanini"; Gianfranco Masini. Aura AUR 409-2 (Switzerland) 01C068 $5.98

GEORGI SVIRIDOV (1915-1998): Music for Chamber Orchestra, Time, Forward!, It is Snowing for Choir and Orchestra, The Songs of Hard Times for Corus and Orchestra. Of the generation of Russian composers that immediately followed Shostakovich, Sviridov is definitely one of the best, combining a clearly defined individual voice that belongs to his teacher's tradition without being too closely derived from it with the same kind of long-breathed dramatic argument in music at which Shostakovich excelled. Although he was long best known for his vocal music, his instrumental works are also very fine. The Music for Chamber Orchestra could be a minor work by Shostakovich (and its concertante part seems to hint at both the older composer's piano concerti, while the overall feel is of the fifth symphony. Again like his mentor, Sviridov seems to have taken his work for film entirely seriously, and the score for Time, Forward! is an orchestral suite of considerable drama and appeal (shades of Lieutenant Kijé here and there). It is in the choral works that we encounter Sviridov at his best here, though; these heartfelt and melancholy works strike just the right degree of emotional involvement to point up the soulfulness of the texts to perfection. Moscow New Choir, Russian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra; Alexander Vedernikov. Boheme CDBMR 911108 (Russia) 01C069 $16.98

DAVID GOLIGHTLY: Symphony No. 1, Three Sea Scapes. Golightly's symphony is a big, ostinato-driven, muscular piece, tonal and constructed out of the musical equivalent of big, solid blocks, or painted in broad brush-strokes of primary colors. It seems to be the proof in music of Grainger's words to the effect that the English are 'passionless about everything except football' - because it is dedicated to a football club (Middlesborough) and its manager, and extrapolates from these men of sport and mud to hypothetical Promethean strivers, builders and visionaries everywhere. Whether or not you are as passionate as Mr. Golightly about soccer, the symphony is one of those big-boned, tonal, neo-romantic pieces which can be relied upon to get the blood pumping a little faster. The Seascapes are appealing orchestral fantasias in familiar style, also bold and colorful. City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra; Gavin Sutherland. ASC CD CS38 (England) 01C070 $16.98

LIU YUAN (b.1959): Symphonic Rhapsody "Memorabilia from Mt. Awa", ZHU JIAN-ER (b.1922): A Wonder of Naxi, ZHANG CHIEN-YI (b.1959): Northern Forest, CHEN YI (b.1953): Duo Ye No. 2. Liu's symphonic rhapsody of 1991 is a five-movement exercise in bold colors, exotic timbres (all based on native regional Chinese melodies) and brilliant orchestration, delivered in a package of sonic splendor and dynamic range to shake the foundations. Zhu's tone poem (1984) is on a somewhat smaller scale but still contains the sort of colorful national romanticism one expects from the generation of Chinese composers who studied in the Soviet Union. Zhang's tone poem could best be described as Chinese Impressionistic Romanticism while Chen's shorter work is a rhapsody on an ancient traditional song and dance. Gorgeous stuff, sure to warm the heart of any Romantic (and/or) stereophile! Hong Kong Sinfonietta; Tsung Yeh. Hugo HRP 7204-2 (Hong Kong) 01C071 $17.98


PETER EÖTVÖS (b.1944): As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams for Reciter, Trombone, Tuba, Sousaphone and Ensemble, ALAN HILARIO (b.1967): Early 70s, Three Scenes in Brooklyn Street, Cubao for Accordion and Ensemble, TATO TABORDA (b.1960): Estratos for Orchestra of Native Instruments, CERGIO PRUDENCIO (b.1955): Cantos crepusculares for Orchestra of Native Instruments, MISATO MOCHIZUKI (b.1969): Camera lucida. Eötvös' large, instrumental ensemble work sets texts in Sprechstimme with the usual extended vocal and instrumental effects. The work is haunting, and less of a display piece for the composer's formidable orchestral technique than some of his works for full orchestra. Hilario's piece extends the idea of music accompanying silent film in a kind of performance piece, with projectors running at different speeds to interact with the instrumental sound effects, which are assembled from a matrix of possible combinations like frames of film on a filmstrip. The Taborda and Prudencio works both exploit the extended playing techniques inherent in not the usual western concert instruments, but instead, the native wind instruments of South America, with their intrinsicaly different and alien-sounding timbres to begin with. While the family of instruments is readily identifiable, they have not often been used to create textures like these. Mochizuki's piece deals with the possibilities of transmuting sounds as though they are visual images, by analogy with photography or mechanically produced visual art, and the result is like a kaleidoscope of identifiable yet unfamiliar orchestral textures. Claire Bloom (reciter), Hugo Noth (accordion), Varianti; Manfred Schreier, Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos, La Paz; Cergio Prudencio, SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden und Freiburg; Sylvain Cambreling. col legno 20075 (Germany) 01C072 $37.98

JUDITH WEIR (b.1954): A Night at the Chinese Opera. Judith Weir's first opera contains a performance within a performance, with a 13th-century play contained within the 'live' action, the interplay between the two plots being part of the point of the piece. Weir's work contains a good deal of irony - tyranny and corruption are dealt with, though the humor is of a wry, winking kind, not broad slapstick. The music does not employ westernised 'Chinoiserie', being for the most part in Weir's postmodern, ecelctic, economical style. The piece has a strong narrative structure, with a great deal of recitative set against a musical backdrop of gestures which relate back to romantic and pre-romantic operatic traditions. Highly accessible and largely consonant, if not exactly tonal in the conventional sense, sometimes obliquely flirting with a kind of process-music propulsion, this is an appealing work, and a remarkably accomplished first opera by a composer who has gone on to write extensively for the stage to considerable acclaim. 2 CDs. English libretto. Vocal Soloists, Scottish Chamber Orchestra; Andrew Parrott. NMC D060 (England) 01C073 $35.98

FRANCO DONATONI (b.1927): Darkness, Omar, Mari, Mari II, Bok, Clair, ANDREA MOLINO: Earth and Heart Dances. As we have had occasion to remark before, one of the great things about music for percussion ensemble is that, even if you don't especially care for the musical material, the sounds of the instruments provide a thrill of their own. These lively works of Donatoni, with much use of syncopated figures and irrgular rhythms have a great charm that belies their basic freedom from 'melodic' material as such. Molino's work for percussion and live electronics is also a sound-spectacular, and again, the activity and energy, suggesting a soundtrack for an imaginary film full of natural spectacle of an astronomical or volcanic type, is immensely appealing. Demoé Percussion Ensemble; Daniele Vineis. Stradivarius STR 33499 (Italy) 01C074 $17.98

THIERRY DE MEY: Kinok for Ensemble, Unknowness for Percussion and Sampling, Violin Concerto, Amor Constante for Ensemble. Mathematics and dance, two apparently contradictory disciplines, come together in de Mey's compositions. That the music dances (whether actually conceived for the dance or not) is apparent throughout. The mathematical structures are harder to discern, and the technological innovations are generally at a minimum here - these are works for acoustic ensemble, with few exceptions. The music is striking and original, and employs the unusual combinations of instruments in all kinds of interesting and unexpectedly consonant and sonorous ways. ICTUS Ensemble; Georges-Elie Octors. Megadisc MDC 7859 (Belgium) 01C075 $18.98

GEORGE ROCHBERG (b.1918): Circles of Fire. This is a large-scale suite of 15 dramatically contrasting movements, most idiomatically written for that sometimes problematic ensemble, the piano duo. It is probably no exaggeration to suggest that Rochberg has put a great deal of himself, the life's experiences and philosophical preoccupations of a long and distinguished compositional career, into this music. Taking its inspirations from sources as diverse as paintings, the techniques of the graphic arts, dodecaphony, tonality, composers from Bartók, Stravinsky and Schoenberg to Debussy and Baroque and Renaissance models, the piece really does feel like a summing-up of sorts. Like much of Rochberg's music of recent years, there is a great immediacy, emotional directness and humanity, and the instrumental terchnique is both ingenious and always at the service of the message. This is one of the composer's most profound and varied works in any medium, and repays study on many levels. The Hirsch-Pinkas Duo (pianos). Gasparo GSCD-343 (U.S.A.) 01C076 $16.98

FREDERICK SPECK: Clarinet Concerto, FRANK GRAHAM STEWART: Concerto for B-Flat Clarinet and Orchestra, BURTON BEERMAN: Morning Calls, MARK PHILLIPS (b.1952): Three of a Kind. If it has become something of a cliché that the clarinet in concert music will have overtones of jazz - Rhapsody in Blue, anyone? - then these sophisticated concertante works take that type-casting and run with it, both acknowledging it and turning it on its head. Speck's concerto includes references to jazz idioms, especially in the solo part - but it is not hard to find references to Bartók and Shostakovich too. Stewart also plays with one's expectations, juxtaposing jaunty solo material with powerful 20th-century orchestral textures. Beerman, who taught Speck, and who began his career in popular and jazz music is represented here by a deeply personal piece which only intermittently suggests jazz, being more in the nature of a tone-poem with clarinet obbligato. The most obviously jazz-inspired work is the Phillips, which continues the symphonic jazz tradition (Gershwin, Grofe, Shaw) and contains more textures and gestures reminiscent of jazz than the other works here. All these works are broadly tonal, most approachable and contain unexpected depths; highly recommended. Richard Stoltzman (clarinet), Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra; George Manahan. MMC 2078 (U.S.A.) 01C077 $16.98

JEFF HAMBURG (b.1956): Mode II, Rapide, Songs from Joshe Kalb, 2 Pieces, Convevtions. As one might vaguely expect of a young composer who left the USA and travelled to Holland to seek out Louis Andriessen, the instrumental music on this disc often has a minimalist component, in which rapid passage-work leads to a slow overall progression of considerable cumulative power. S ome elements of jazz are also discernable, in syncopated rhythms and bluesy harmonies (especially in the two piano pieces). The song-cycle is another matter. Here the composer pays conscious tribute to his Jewish roots, and the result is a work of profound lyricism and clearly defined ethnic origins. Marjanne Kweksilber (soprano), Eleonore Pameijer (flute), Angel Gimeno (violin), Doris Hochscheid (cello), Frans van Ruth (piano). Donemus CV 87 (U.S.A.) 01C078 $18.98

LEONARDO BALADA (b.1933): Geometrias No. 1 for Ensemble, Cuatris for Ensemble, Mosaico for Brass Quintet, Union of the Oceans for Wind Ensemble, Song and Dance for Soprano and Wind Ensemble, Quasi un pasodoble for Orchestra, Homage to Casals for Orchestra, Homage to Sarasate for Orchestra. Pittsburgh-based Catalan composer Balada has always avoided avant-garde techniques, but his music cannot be described as conservative or traditional either. From titles like Geometrias and Mosaico we gain some insight into the composer's intentions; this is very much 'pure' music, based on patterns and structures, abstract yet not unexpressive - it does not carry any hint of a program or clear message, though. There is a tendency to establish a background - often a single note, in different registers - and then place foreground brushstrokes of great instrumental intensity and often pungent dissonance over the featureless ground. When he uses folk material, it is usually surrealistically transmuted, and he freely mixes lyricism with pointillistic textures, dissonant clusters with gentle consonant chords, in an eclectic but satisfying personal vocabulary. Conjunto Camerístico de Barcelona; Leonardo Balada, The American Brass Quintet, Katy Shackleton-Williams (soprano), Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble, Orquesta Sinfónica de la Radio TV Española; Enrique García Asensio, Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya; Leonardo Balada, The Louisville Orchestra; Jorge Mester. Albany TROY 417 (U.S.A.) 01C079 $16.98

CARL VINE (b.1954): Piano Sonata No. 2, Flute Sonata, String Quartet No. 3, 5 Bagatelles for Piano, Inner World for Solo Cello. Vine's dynamic and dramatic music is well showcased by this disc, which is worth having for the excellent piano sonata alone. Freely tonal and virtuosic, sonorous and powerful, this sonata joins the ranks of first-rate twentieth-century piano music which treats the piano as a piano and conveys an emotional message in terms derived from tradition yet wholly original. The flute sonata and quartet both share the sonata's preoccupation with syncopated rhyhtms and harmonic propulsion, providing a great sense of forward momentum. The quartet contains echoes of certain gestures from the late Shostakovich quartets. The brief piano works and the electroacoustic cello piece are highly concentrated and occupy a serious and psycological inner landscape. A most recommendable disc. Michael Kieran Harvey (piano), Geoffrey Collins (flute), David Miller (piano), Tall Poppies Quartet, Ian Munro (piano), David Pereira (cello). Tall Poppies TP 120 (Australia) 01C080 $18.98

MAREK STACHOWSKI (b.1936): String Quartets Nos. 1-3, Musica festeggiante, Quartetto da ingresso. A student of Penderecki, whose influence can be heard in the first quartet (1963), Stachowski moved further into the avant-garde with aleatoric techniques helping construct the dynamically wide-ranging sound-structures of the 1972 second quartet. By 1980, (Quartetto da ingresso), consonances are on equal terms with dissonances and the third quartet (1988) employs elements of neo-tonality and polyphony. Musica festeggiante (1995) contrasts the lively rhythms of its outer sections with a lyrical central episode. Jagiellonski Quartet. Dux 0161 (Poland) 01C081 $16.98

RONN YEDIDIA (b.1960): Piano Sonata No. 3, "Outcries", Apparition,: Æther, Toward the Gardens of Heaven, Grand Etudes Nos. 3, No. 5, No. 6 ("Sunrise"), No. 7 ("The Flight over the Ocean"), No. 8 ("A Voice is Calling in the Desert at Night") and No. 10 ("Tempest"). Israeli-born, American-domiciled composer Ronn Yedidia has established his own unique position in the history of composer-pianists. Often philosophically inspired and highly emotional in expression, his works continue the transcendental tradition established by Liszt and Chopin, and draw from the Russian school of Skryabin and Rakhmaninov. The pianism of Vladimir Horowitz was also an important formative influence on Yedidia's development as composer and performer. However, his divergence from other followers of this grand pianistic legacy is really quite marked, and his music sounds an extraordinarily individual voice, especially when one considers the absence of unorthodox instrumental techniques and special effects. Busonian and Messiaenic concepts of harmony are detectable, there is also an accent or inflection drawn from jazz (Yedidia is also a highly accomplished jazz composer in a separate, parallel career), and a sense of rushing headlong into unbridled emotion, especially in his more tonal works, which is rare in 20th century music. For sheer pianistic grandeur and impact, and a sense of momentous inevitability, one would have to look to Busoni's Fantasia contrappuntistica, Stevenson's Passacaglia on DSCH or certain works of Sorabji for apt comparisons to the monumental bell-tolling coda of the sonata or the climax of the sixth Grand Etude. Few 20th century piano composers have achieved so uncompromisingly powerful an uvre, or one which combines total originality with a concern for the most direct communication of a message. Ronn Yedidia (piano). Altarus AIR-CD-9078 (U.S.A.) 01C082 $17.98

JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): 14 Little Pictures, Cello Sonata No. 1, A Cecilian Variation for JFK, Kiss on Wood, Lumen Christi, Angel. These chamber and piano works display an unexpectedly intimate side to MacMillan's musical personality on the one hand, and on the other, his ability to produce the same sort of teeming, tumultuous, event-filled epics for small forces that we are used to hearing in his extravagantly orchestrated pieces for large forces. The two tiny piano pieces are of gossamer delicacy, while the first half of the first movement of the sonata has a soulful simplicity and absence of explosive instrumental effects that may surprise some (though as the music gets going there is drama aplenty). This sonata is a particularly fine work of great emotional range; it and the piano trio (a through-composed work in 14 sections) are indicative of a growing maturity and depth in the composer's emotional vocabulary - the religious ecstasy and folk-Scottishness are still present, but they seem to have been joined by a more human voice than has often been evident in MacMillan's more 'spectacular' pieces. Certainly a side of the composer worth exploring. Raphael Wallfisch (cello), John York (piano), Members of the Nash Ensemble. Black Box BBM 1008 (England) 01C083 $17.98

SALLY BEAMISH (b.1956): The Imagined Sound of the Sun for Saxophone and Orchestra, The Caledonian Road, The Day Dawn, No, I'm Not Afraid for Narrator and Orchestra. Beamish's music is highly atmospheric and evocative, and she is unafraid of overt emotionalism,though within a context of meticulous craftsmanship and precsion of statement. The first two pieces on this disc are tone-poems, marvellously evocative of their subjects. The cycle No, I'm Not Afraid consists of musical interludes and backdops against which the composer narrates the poetry of Irina Ratushinskaya. Here as in the concerto, the music cannot be said to be atonal, but Beamish's use of harmony is a very individual one, drawing on folk musics, blues and other subtle influences, but adding up to a neo-romantic feeling overall. John Harle (saxophone), Sally Beamish (narrator), Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Ola Rudner. BIS CD-1161 (Sweden) 01C084 $17.98

IAN WILSON (b.1964): The Capsizing Man and Other Stories - String Quartet No. 2, Winter's Edge - String Quartet No. 1, Towards the Far Country - String Quartet No. 3. The unusually titled second quartet turns out to be in five movements, each suggesting a story woven around sculptures by Giacometti. There is something austere and haunted about the music, as though the sculptures are being viewed in a nocturnal half-light, casting odd shadows. The concise first quartet also has a somber and haunted air, a kind of neo-expressionistic psychological journey (based on episodes from the life of St Paul). The third quartet is also inspired by visual art - in this case, paintings by Klee. A work of strong and decisive contrasts, and emphatic repeated gestures, interrupted frequently by a kind of harried, frenetic melodicism. All represent original ways to treat the hallowed quartet medium, while not rejecting its distinguished history. The Vanbrugh Quartet. Black Box BBM 1031 (England) 01C085 $17.98

CARL UNANDER-SCHARIN/INGAMAJ BECK (b.1943): Figures in a Landscape. An extravagant electro-acoustic canvas, setting poems by Beck for a remarkable variety of highly individual vocal types against a mainly ambient synthesizer background, creating a chromatic but basically tonal musical matrix which mostly avoids a sense of sound for its own sake. If the accompanying material were transcribed for piano, this would sound quite conventional in purely thematic terms, but the undisguised nature of the electronic instruments and the specific natures of the voices chosen impart a degree of strangeness to match the questing texts, with their meditations on death, existence and identity. Various vocalists. Electronic Opera Records EORCD 001 (Sweden) 01C086 $16.98

CSABA DEÁK (b.1932): Symphony for Wind Orchestra, Concerto for Clarinet and Winds, Memento Mare for Choir and Winds, Farina Pagus, Anémones de Felix. The Hungarian-born Swedish composer Csaba Deák has written for the wind as his large ensemble of choice, and these five strikingly original and accessible compositions display a remarkable aptitude for the medium. Deák's own instrument was the clarinet, and his direct, many-layered concerto, with its alternating moods of melancholy charm and boisterous good humor (with acknowledgement of the solo instrument's jazz heritage) is typical of his elegant and expressive music. The choral work, in memory of those lost in a sea disaster, is a setting of sections of the Requiem, a serious and heartfelt work of some power. The composer's voice is predominantly tonal, though not old-fashioned, and similar to the vocabulary of Rosenberg, with whom Deák studied. All these works are vibrant and vital, and pack a great deal into comparatively brief spans of time. Kjell Fagéus (clarinet), Kungliga Musikhögskolans Blåsorkester; Andreas Hanson. Nosag CD 053 (Sweden) 01C087 $16.98

ANDRZEJ PANUFNIK (1914-1991): Arbor Cosmica for String Orchestra, Violin Concerto. Panufnik had a great gift for writing music that was extremely approachable without compromising its seriousness of purpose or emotional expressiveness, and these two works for strings, the 1971 concerto (written for Menuhin) and 1983's Arbor Cosmica, while perhaps not being the audacious musical dynamos which his best orchestral works - the Sinfonia Sacra, Universal Prayer, the piano concerto - most certainly are, are nonetheless vintage Panufnik; dynamic, dancing, full of life-affirming energy, set off against sufficiently sombre shadows to enable their bright, lively textures to resonate to full effect. An attractive and exciting disc. Robert Kabara (violin), Sinfonietta Cracovia; Wojciech Michniewski. Dux 0254 (Poland) 01C088 $16.98

MAREK SEWEN (b.1935ish): Sinfonia Sacra for Tenor and Orchestra, Op. 16, Stabat Mater for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Women's Choir and Orchestra, Op. 15, Meditation for Solo Flute, Op. 22. What appears to be three separate works for different forces actually seems to have been conceived as a triptych (though the opus numbers assigned to the three sections leave one a little confused, if this is the case). Whether taken separately or as a whole, this music is a deeply moving and impassioned statement of religious ecstasy, an interpretation of the Passion and Stabat Mater. Sewen's music is lush and Romantic, serious and restrained on the one hand, exultant and dramatic on the other. Occasionally one is reminded of Janacek or Franz Schmidt, or possibly the Bartók of Bluebeard's Castle. A powerful work (or works) of deep feeling and somber splendor. Izabella Klosinska (soprano), Elzbieta Panko (mezzo), Paulos Raptis (tenor), Leszek Szarsynski (flute), Olsztyn Choir of the Institute of Musical Education at the Higher School of Education, Olsztyn Philharmonic Orchestra; Marek Sewen. Dux 0114a (Poland) 01C089 $16.98

ARVO PÄRT (b.1935): Symphony No. 3, Tabula Rasa, Collage über B-A-C-H. Pärt's first appearance on Naxos includes examples from three of his stylistic periods: the Collage (1964) mixes dodecaphony with neo-classicism in three brief but cogent movements, the 1971 symphony is a powerful and austere piece heavily indebted to early polyphony and Gregorian chant and makes a strong impression. Tabula Rasa (here for two violins, prepared piano and string orchestra) appeared in the late 70s and is the first widely heard example of the composer's minimalist, "tintinnabuli" style. Leslie Hatfield, Rebecca Hirsch (violins), Ulster Orchestra; Takuo Yuasa. Naxos 8.554591 (New Zealand) 01C090 $5.98

GÜNTHER BECKER (b.1924): Quasi una fantasmagoria, Hard Times - Multisounds, Stravaganza, Epiklesis Alpha, Mikrografien, Rigolo. We are informed that at the composer's request, 10 toy dinosaurs took part in his 70th birthday concert, and the packaging in general seems to be trying to out-weird everything else in your CD collection, but in fact this is a bit misleading, as these ingenious ensemble pieces, while admitting a certain theatrical element and in one case, a tape part, are not especially outrageous. They are predominantly atonal, and tonal referents, while carrying a certain shock of surprise, seem mostly incidental. But they are sonorous and surprisingly consonant at times, and the composer has drawn inspiration from an ecelctic range of earlier musical models, trreated either ironically or as transmuted source material. Notabu Ensemble Neuemusik; Mark-Andreas Schlingensiepen. Cybele 360.201 (Germany) 01C091 $16.98

MANUEL CASTILLO (b.1930): Symphony No. 3 "Poemas de Luz", Piano Concerto No. 2, Obertura Festiva. These bold and attractive works have a certain Spanish-ness of inflection, but the principal comparisons that spring to mind, for various reasons, are Russian. The "Festive Overture" has something of the color and exuberance of Borodin or Rimsky-Korsakov about it, though in a somewhat updated harmonic language. The concerto recalls Shostakovich or Prokofiev - there is something of the former in the very haunting slow movement. The symphony is "about" light, and the composer has adopted a kind of musical onomatapia, in luminous singing textures; sometimes, especially in the symphony, the high-intensity romanticism of Khachaturian, or even of Hollywood, are evoked. The harmonic vocabulary is basically tonal, though very chromatic, and the orchestration colorful and lush. Easy music to enjoy, and difficult to tire of. Ana Guijarro (piano), Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville; Juan Luis Pérez. Ensayo ENY-2002 (Spain) 01C092 $16.98

MANUEL CASTILLO (b.1930): Sinfonietta Homenaje, RAFAEL DÍAZ (b.1943): Concierto Andaluz para el Final de un Milenio for Guitar, Electronics and Orchestra, FRANCISCO GUERRERO (1951-1997): Coma Berenices. All of these works were commissioned for the 50th anniversary of Falla's death: Castillo's homage is in the direct Falla/Spanish line although with rather hard-edged 20th-century language. Abril's piece is a loving homage mixed with late 20th century avant-garde techiques while Guerrero's work, whose title comes from a constellation, is a bit more obscure, given that he died just after finishting it. However, we can tell you that the work is based on fractal mathematics and, perhaps, let you take it from there... Orquesta Ciudad de Granada; Josep Pons, Carlos Cuéllar (guitar), Orquesta de Málaga; José Luis Temes, Orquesta de Córdoba; Leo Brouwer. Almaviva DS-0129 (Spain) 01C093 $18.98

ANTÓN GARCÍA ABRIL (1930ish): Piano Concerto, Nocturnos de la Antequeruela for Piano and String Orchestra. Abril belongs to the so-called "Generación del 51" along with the above composers (at least it makes crystal clear sense with Guerrero...) but his muse seems to have guided him along a more popular path even if the (Spanish-only) notes tell us he worshipped Webern. His 1966 concerto belongs solidly in the nationalistic stream of Falla and could easily have substituted for (particularly) the Guerrero in the disc above. The Nocturnos were, however, written as an homage to Falla (even if they weren't officially commissioned and this nine-piece suite is a lovely compendium of nocturnal Hispanicisms which will delight anyone who loves 20th century Spanish music. Leonel Morales (piano), RTVE Symphony Orchestra; Enrique García Asensio. RTVE 65127 (Spain) 01C094 $16.98

POUL RUDERS (b.1949): The Handmaid's Tale. The bleak futuristic vision of pious totalitarianism at the centre of "The Handmaid's Tale" - the individual characters are, in this society, of no importance, and as characters in the story, basically interchangeable - makes it an unlikely subject for a narrative emotional art form like opera, on the face of it. Atwood's novel, like other such dystopian essays - "Brave New World", "1984", "Exodus AD" - is a warning tract about the ease with which the human race will construct and embrace social machines to crush the individual, and a story in which a system is the most elaborately drawn character is the antithesis of the European operatic tradition. The great success of Ruders' opera lies in the fact that little attempt is made to tell us much about the emotional lives of the characters. With glacial inevitability, the dehumanised humans go about their existences, and the detailed text and vivid yet oppressive music place the listener frighteningly in the midst of an all too believable society of unyielding malevolence. The music draws on many influences but remains closely allied to traditonal techniques, even to tonality and melody, while generating a sense of mechanistic impersonality which takes on the characterisation of the horrifying society from which its component organisms cannot separate themselves. 2 CDs. Danish-English libretto. Marianne Rørholm (soprano), Poul Elming (baritone), Royal Danish Opera Chorus, Royal Danish Orchestra; Michael Schønwandt. Marco Polo/Dacapo 8.224165-66 (Denmark) 01C095 $29.98

JUKKA LINKOLA (b.1955): Euphonium Concerto, JUHA T. KOSKINEN (b.1972): Destination for Euphonium and Piano, OLIVER KOHLENBERG (b.1957): Blue Gleam of Arctic Hysteria for Euphonium, Piano and Percussion. The Linkola concerto has a reputation among euphonium players as one of the most satisfying and musically accomplished large-scale works in the repertory of their mellifluous and agile - and all too frequently sadly underrated instrument. Anyone who mistakenly thinks of the euphonium as some sort of oom-pah, poor relation of the more established orchestral brass should hear this. An attractive and melodic tonal work which fully exploits the instrument's remarkable flexibility and sonority, this concerto is an unexpected masterpiece. The other works further demonstrate the capabilities of the instrument; the Koskinen is both a virtuoso showpiece and a highly atmospheric tone poem. Kohlenberg's work, with piano and percussion, is also immensely atmospheric, and like the other works shows off the technical and expressive qualities of the instrument (including some extended playing techniques, and the full range of the euphonium's register and dynamic capabilities) in a piece of great character and dramatic evocation. Oulu Symphony Orchestra; Arvo Volmer, Hannu Hirvelä (piano), Aki Virtanen (percussion). Alba ABCD 118 (Finland) 01C096 $16.98

USKO MERILÄINEN (b.1930): Papillons for 2 Pianos, Piano Sonatas Nos. 2, 4 & 5. These works all date from the years after Meriläinen abandoned dodecaphony in favour of a richly detailed free atonality, with much emphasis on colour and vivid contrasts in texture. The second and fourth sonatas - the latter especially - have an epic, questing property; even when the music is slow, there is little sense of repose, and the music is mercurial and unpredictable. The fifth sonata, composed after a ten-year gap in the composer's output for the instrument, is more economical, less extravagantly expressive, with much telling use of silences and spaces between gestures. The two-piano work shares with the second sonata a sense of momentum and irregular yet motoric activity. An unusual byway of 20th-century pianism, not readily comparable with anyone else. Jaana Kärkkäinen (piano), Ilmo Ranta (piano-Papillons). Alba ABCD 106 (Finland) 01C097 $16.98

MAX SCHUBEL (b.1932): Esquisses en désarroi for Cello, Horn and Orchestra, Recherche pour la Vision au delà, Cyrèniäde for Mezzo-Soprano and Orchestra. While unquestionably written in a modern idiom, albeit one rather hard to define, these three works are very approachable and have a ready appeal. The first is a concertante work featuring cello and french horn, and like the other two works here it is freely rhapsodic and spontaneous in inspiration. The large orchestral forces are used imaginatively and boldly, with great expanses of colour and uunusual timbres. Although the shortest of the three pieces, Cyrèniäde is perhaps the most immediately attractive, a haunting fragment of myth in sound, an exotic tone-poem, mysterious and sensuous. Inbal Segev (cello), Gabriel Kovach (horn), Theresa Treadway-Lloyd (mezzo), National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra; David Oberg, Joel Eric Suben. Opus One CD 184 (U.S.A.) 01C098 $11.98

IVO NILSSON (b.1966): Pulse, JOHANNES JANSSON (b.1950): The Nightingale, WERNER WOLF GLASER (b.1910): Präludium, Sospeso, MATS LARSSON GOTHE (b.1965): Ride of the Valkyries, KJELL PERDER (b.1954): London Vertigo, MAURICE KARKOFF (b.1927): Fantasisa for the Left Hand, BO NILSSON (b.1937): Arctic Romance (To Gudrun), JAN SANDSTRÖM (b.1954): Campane in campi aperti, FOLKE RABE (b.1935): With Love #1, With Love #2. This is a very wide-ranging recital of piano music written within the past 20 years by composers from the Nordic countries. Many styles are in evidence here, from the frankly sentimental neo-Romanticism of Glaser and Jansson to the prepared piano of Ivo Nilsson. In between we have a mechanistic, quick-fire toccata by Gothe, and a sensuous atonal nocturne (including some direct contact on the strings) by Perder. Bo Nilsson is represented by a not-at-all avant-garde nocturne, a lovely thing which could almost have been written a century earlier. Sandström's piece, the most extended, may lack the audacity of the Motorbike Concerto, but the richly evocative sound world at which he excels is amply in evidence in this, a bell piece. So in short, this may not be a fully comprehensive picture of everything of which the piano is capable in contemporary terms, but it is a fascinating cross-section of great and stimulating variety nonetheless. Matti Hirvonen (piano). Daphne 1012 (Sweden) 01C099 $16.98

MAX STEINER (1888-1971): The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Although this score won Steiner the 1948 Venice Biennial International Film Festival award for Best Musical Score, it has become popular among some followers of film music to denigrate it. The useful notes not only give a complete synopsis of the film by musical cues and report on its orchestrational history but deal with the lack of respect (and the purported reasons therefor) for the score. No one collecting this series is likely to turn up his nose at this brilliantly realized recording of what is a very enjoyable and memorable piece of film scoring. Moscow Symphony Chorus and Orchestra; William T. Stromberg. Marco Polo 8.225149 (New Zealand) 01C100 $14.98


ANTOINE MARIOTTE (1875-1944): Sonata in F Sharp Minor (Marie-Catherine Girod), BENJAMIN GODARD (1849-1895): Mazurka No. 4, Op. 103 (Francesco Libetta), MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN (b.1961): Music Box, "Se tu m'ami" (Tribute to Giovanni Battista Pergoslesi" (Marc-André Hamelin), PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893): Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (arr. Pletnev), CARL MARIA VON WEBER (1786-1826): Perpetuum mobile from Sonata No. 1, Op. 24 (Konstantin Scherbakov), JOHANNES BRAHMS (1833-1897): Herzlich tut mich verlangen (arr. Eusebius Mandyczewsky [1857-1929] from 11 Choral Preludes for Organ, Op. 122) (Duo Tall & Groethuysen), NIKOLAI MEDTNER (1880-1951): Sonata-Elegie, Op. 11/2 (Hamish Milne), ASTOR PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992): Milonga del Angelo (Roberto Cominati), ELOS JANÁCEK (1854-1928): 4 Pieces from On an Overgrown Path (Marc-André Hamelin), FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963): Les Chemins de l'Amour, FRIEDRICH HOLLAENDER (1896-1976): An allem sind die Juden schuld, STEPHEN SONDHEIM (b.1930): Losing My Mind (Jody Karin Applebaum - soprano, Marc-André Hamelin - piano). The latest orgy of obscure and virtuosic pianism brings one major new find - the 1906 sonata by a Frenchman who, like Roussel, was a naval officer but who abandoned the service to study under D'Indy. His sonata shows a further evolution of the chromatic harmony developed by his teacher and by Franck although with less use of their cyclic form. Danacord DACOCD 559 (Denmark) 01C101 $17.98

DAVID FANSHAWE (b.1942): Fanfare to Planet Earth, Millenium March, ALAN LANGFORD (b.1930): Petite Promenade, PETER HOPE (b.1930): Ring of Kerry, Playful Scherzo, Petit Point, Irish Legend, ERNEST TOMLINSON (b.1924): Cantilena, ALAN ABBOTT (b.1926): London Fragments, JAMES TURNER (1905-1990): Passepied des enfants, Countrywise, BRYAN KELLY (b.1934): Dance Suite, Comedy Film, DAVID LYON (b.1938): Divertimento, Dance Prelude, GILBERT VINTER (1909-1969): Mayflowers, Tenderfoot, March Winds, April Shower, Song-Dance Suite, WILFRIED JOSEPHS (1927-1997): Aelian Dances, Ecossaise from Serenade, March Glorious, MALCOLM ARNOLD (b.1921): Sarabande from Solitaire, JOHN DYER (1908-1986): Marche Vive, MADELINE DRING (1923-1977): Danza gaya, MAX SAUNDERS (1903-1983): Badinage, Kanikani, ROBERT DOCKER (1918-1992): Commemoration March. Like last month's Ronald Binge collection, this is a complilation of recordings made in various times and places (although the majority come from the German light music orchestra Orchestra Rapahele, made between 1964 and 1968). Thus, this is not only a valuable compendium of fine British Light Music but also, in some respects, a historical record. Fanshawe's pieces are new digital recordings. Orchestra Raphaele; Heinz Hotter, Peter Walden, Erwin Rondell and other artists. ASV White Line WLZ 250 (England) 01C102 $23.98

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750)/MAX REGER (1873-1916): Orchestral Suites Nos. 1-4, BWV 1066-1069, Passacaglia in C Minor, BWV 582, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565, Prelude and Fugue in E Flat, BWV 552. To Reger, Bach was the "all-father" and the "beginning and end of all music" and, during his short life, he arranged more than 160 of Bach's various compositions, many for piano duo like those here. The 1907 transcriptions of the orchestral suites were made for home performance (not that many would be able to play them today) while the remaining items were planned for the concert platform. 2 CDs. Piano Duo Speidel-Trenkner. MD&G 330 1006 (Germany) 01C103 $35.98